RainStick raises 1 million Canadian dollars to commercialize water-saving technology
RainStick Shower, a clean technology startup based in Kelowna, has received more than $1 million in seed financing to support the launch of its water-saving smart shower system.RainStick's round of financing was supported by Vancouver-based venture capital firm Red Thread Ventures and a group of influential angel investors aligned with the water and renewable energy sectors. The team includes John Rose, who served as the CEO and President of NuHeat Floors, an electric floor heating company that was acquired by Pentair in 2015. Rose has joined RainStick's board of directors as part of this round of financing.
"Now, we need to do more. I think this is a huge opportunity." -Alisha McFetridge, RainStick CEO and Co-founder
Approximately $700,000 of RainStick's more than $1 million round of financing was made up of equity, and the rest came from grants. RainStick received grants from Canada's Sustainable Development Technology (SDTC) Seed Fund and Communitech's Fierce Founder's Intensive Track program. The new funding brings RainStick's total funding to date to 1.3 million Canadian dollars.
In the fierce wildfire season, heat waves and droughts across the country, Canadians' need to save water has become particularly urgent. Enter RainStick, it designed a solution to help reduce household water use. With the new funding, RainStick plans to improve, certify and commercialize its smart shower products.
"Now, we need to do more," RainStick co-founder and CEO Alisha McFetridge told BetaKit in an interview. "I think this is a huge opportunity. We have seen droughts, forest fires, and I think I am very excited about the future of climate technology, and I am glad RainStick is one of those people who are working hard to find a solution."
RainStick was co-founded by McFetridge and her husband Sean in 2019. This startup is located in British Columbia (BC) and operates in Ontario, aiming to solve the problem of water and energy waste in the home through its direct-to-consumer, WiFi-enabled smart shower system. According to data from Environment Canada, about half of the water used in the home is in the bathroom, and showers account for 19% of the total water use.
RainStick's products draw fresh water from the grid, but instead of sending it to the sewer immediately, it recycles it, allowing users to drastically reduce water and energy usage during showering. At the same time, McFetridge claims that RainStick can provide almost twice the flow rate or water per minute available on the market today.
"We really want to completely change people's perception of water, [at the same time] enabling people to live a sustainable lifestyle without compromise," McFetridge said.
The new product of this Kelowna-based startup is timely because parts of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario are currently facing moderate to extreme levels Drought conditions. These conditions took place during the particularly intense wildfire season that hit British Columbia, and experts said they may be exacerbated by another heat wave.
Experts have linked these droughts and wildfires to climate change. A recent United Nations climate change report sounded the "code red for mankind", warning that if we do not drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, global warming may lead to serious consequences. Experts also said that given our current development trajectory, Canadians may face more heat waves, fires and floods in the future. In view of these circumstances, the importance of energy saving has increased.
"We believe RainStick is building important products to solve some of the world's most pressing problems," said Mark Mitchell, principal and director of Red Thread Ventures.
RainStick plans to use its new funds to bring its first RainStick shower system to the market. Doing so will involve investment in marketing efforts, product improvement and certification, and the first batch of production. RainStick plans to launch pre-orders for Canada and the United States by the end of September before launching the product in 2022. The startup said that it has secured more than 100 pre-orders.
McFetridge called RainStick's smart shower system an "investment" that could "recover the cost in five years or less" for Canadian users who paid a one-time fee to purchase the system. RainStick also plans to provide a cleaning system, and they recommend that users of its shower system deploy it every quarter.
The CEO of RainStick saw potential applications of the company's technology outside of personal homes. "There were a lot of showers," McFetridge said. "There are many use cases. We start with the family, but we want to see RainStick in development projects, and we want to see RainStick in hotels."
In the long run, RainStick's goal is to market its shower products to markets such as Europe and the Middle East. According to McFetridge, RainStick is interested in finding places where water is scarce or where water is mandated by the government. The company is currently developing other products related to water and energy.
Close-up images of RainStick co-founders Alisha McFetridge (CEO) and Sean McFetridge (CTO), courtesy of RainStick
Josh Scott is a special writer for BetaKit, who likes to tell Canadian business and technology stories. His report is more complete than his mustache.
Welcome to the Fintech Times, a weekly newsletter covering the world’s largest Fintech news. If you want to read F|T before...